(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
This is the position everyone will be talking about from now until the moment that someone other than Devin Hester emerges.
If the Bears stumble out of the gate, particularly offensively, Jerry Angelo will watch the good graces he piled up in trading for Cutler burned by the furry of fans who are watching him struggle without a No. 1 wide receiver.
Obviously there is still time for a change.
A veteran free agent might be added at any point between now and the start of the season. Sadly, none of the available options appear to be clear upgrades over what’s currently on the roster.
Conversely, Angelo could continue to think big and pursue free agent Plaxico Burress or Anquan Boldin via trade.
Plax would be the easiest to acquire since his release from the Giants, but he comes with considerable PR and locker room risks. Questions will linger late into the summer about his legal status and any sort of additional league disciplinary action.
Despite his dominance on the field, he has now pushed his way out of two cities with his contract demands and off-the-field actions. For someone who’s already stepped outside his comfort zone once this off-season, it’s hard to see Angelo going this far out again.
Any sort of Boldin deal has its own hurdles, the biggest being the first round pick required in any trade that now resides in Denver.
Would the Bears give up a third-straight first rounder?
What about the additional contract demands of Boldin?
The Bears reportedly tried and failed to complete a trade for Boldin during the draft centered around the 49th overall pick. The Cardinals have him under contract for two more seasons and have every reason to believe he won’t hold out, so why should they sell low?
One part of this story still unfolding is Boldin’s recent decision to fire his agent Drew Rosenhaus, which could indicate a drastic shift in philosophy.
Given the uncertain future of the NFL, Boldin may want to lock in his new deal now at all costs. If he’s finally willing to sit out it might force the Cardinals to the bargaining table in good faith.
That’s the one situation in which the price might come down enough for the Bears to swoop in and nab him, but even in this best-case-scenario they’d still have to outbid at least half a dozen other teams.
Angelo did this one already for a quarterback; will he place the same sort of premium on a wide receiver?
Without any additional help Cutler is likely to see the same eight-man boxes that Orton did during his time under center. Defenses will jam Hester as well as Olsen and Clark coming off the line and force Cutler to hold on to the ball.
The Bears may need to rely heavily on Cutler’s ability to make their receivers better or their passing game will be grounded.